04.08.2018 Osaka >> Naoshima

J. had booked for us online for Chichu Museum, Naoshima—art island—at 2 o’clock. To allow enough travelling time, we left our featureless room—without even tokonama, the ma-instilled space in a house where a scroll is hung and small flower arrangement displayed (and being in this featureless room in Osaka proved the importance of this positively charged empty space—without it, and without an outlook, the windows opening on to a half-metre gap, we were without exterior view as well as without interior view)—which, by the time we left we’d grown fond of, and this is our route:

Nipponbashi >> Namba-Osaka >> Shin-Osaka >> Hikari Shinkansen to Okayama >> where a curious train was pulled in named Malle de Bois for the scenic route, and we asked directions on the platform, were shown the same platform but told to go down it, past platform 8, further and further, until the platform narrowed and became platform 7 >> Chayamachi >> on the Port Line to Uno >> tickets were bought at the ferry terminal at 11.50; our ferry was due to leave in 5 minutes; the ticket vendor left her booth and pointed at a white building—it looked miles away; we ran >> by ferry to Honmura, across the Seto Sea, heaving greasily beneath us, as if the world were a lubricated ballbearing and we stuck on its top, or eyeball (like one of Walter de Maria’s marble massives, as will be seen… Our bags left at Rojitoakari >> by town bus from Honmura to Tsutsuji-so >> Benesse free shuttle bus to Chichu Art Museum, early.

…to be treated to… we were an half-hour early, starving, and told to wait outside the semipermanent reception building in the midafternoon heat, late 30s C. A few tables were set up in front of a sparsely stocked counter … I bought sugared almonds, and we had a bag of chili prawn crisps, and copious water from a waterfountain, inside. We had been given a laminated card to read with the simple rules of the house written on it. The politely oppressive ambiance surrounding high art was already palpable. Already I felt like rebelling.

The allotted hour came. A woman sat in an Ando concrete prism collecting tickets and reiterating rules—no photos, two areas require removal of shoes, obey staff. Staff all dressed in muted greys and cream, not screaming at us; all with haircuts and faces.

Shoes off for Monet? What for? Are we going to crush precious lily pads? And we had to wait. No singles rides or express tickets to art. … The Monet space had a floor made of thousands of marble cubes and the houseshoes either skidded or slapped on it. This thing was taking preciosity to a new level. I conceived a work where I either produced the shit myself or found a dog’s and trod it from one end of a white space to another. Toiletshoes.

James Turrell’s UV purple Mike TV set experience involved shoes off too, and a similar queue. Up tiled steps, then down into a UV-lit volume, told to stop… here, at the hand gesture of the attendant, with her muted tones and haircut. I noted the faint marks of earlier advances towards the Turrell screen, like a high-tide mark, where others had gone before us, with a more permissive attendant, and had gone… closer.

Walter de Maria’s work—another purpose-built hall, floating barrel-vault ceiling, several flights of stairs with a landing at middle and top, occupying the width of the room, with golden cricket wickets placed around and up on the walls—sets of three wooden posts painted gilt on gilt plinth, triangular and hexagonal prisms (there were pencils at the shop the same)—Don’t forget the injunction of this attendant, with her muted face and her tones: Touch not! And speak in low voice—as sound travels in this room. I have never spoken in a low voice, I informed her.—And on the landing, halfway up the huge gallery room, a monumental marble marble, a globe poised as if ready to roll down and crush whoever, whatever mouse, should happen to pass through the small low door… which, when at the top of the gallery, I fantasised about facilitating, or is it participating? No, it is engaging, and activating the space. The marble marble rolling down a flight of steps, gaining momentum, the one caught like a mouse in a Walter de Maria trap. Precious art.

<< Benesse courtesy bus to Tsutsuji-so << town bus to Honmura.

We checked in, and were handed a long checklist of all the do’s and don’ts of the little house, the house rules here: like, if in dormitory, please don’t keep reading light on and disturb those sleeping. Don’t eat in room. Doors open for cat. Checkboxes ticked, document signed, and stamped by proprietor’s representative. We booked for dinner at owner’s café for seven.

And it was an old house on the hill, with exquisite glasswear, not because delicate, but robust, and every surface, and as you see, the light-fitting, the furnishing, the rooms, redolent of an art of living without preciosity. And if delicate, cared about, recognised, valued more for being ephemeral—the mortal more to be valued for being so, and without pathos, or momento mori gothic or romantic sentiment; what passes and is here before us briefly requires more from us, more careful attentio, more gratitude in its moment of existing, more consideration, than that which lasts. … And I wanted to talk about how the economics are different, being put in mind of this difference, from NZ, by an article in the book, snapped above, by the founder of Benesse, who speaks about public capitalism. This is not the same as setting a dollar price on things in order to create value, say art things; not valuing them by price, but valuing them by spending on art as a social value, and a cultural good.

I also wanted to say something about how here identity is tied, at least in appearance, to role: the fireman’s blinking deliberate eyes from last night on Doutonbori.

(Culinary note: Seto seasalt crusted black bream; and, why not put your toasted sesame seeds in a grinder, to spread, with a bit of sticky slime, on your okra?)

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03.08.2018 Universal City, Studio & so on, to infinity and beyond

Hakutsuru since 1743—choice. Although, writing with Gekkeikan glass this balmy evening.

…speaking of culture: 2 gratifying aspects of culture and cultural acceptance we observe are 1) the presence of ashtrays; although it is not a nation of smokers as it might once have been, like some charming anachronism ashtrays have accompanied our dining experiences, if not the actual effluvia; although tonight we sat opposite two middle-youthed men in shirtsleeves, both trying valiantly to master the art of electrocigarette action (the younger man, trying to outdo the elder, tried to smoke harder and drink louder, while his cigarette insert kept falling out of the electro-gizmo, and he acted like he didn’t care, sweeping it off the floor with a nonchalance so contrived and demonstrative as to be theatrical); and other times young women smoking, the smoke effectively sucked out of the room, leaving the tang of chemicals behind, like a sour smell-rind; 2) despite the years of isolation being long gone by about 2 centuries and those of American occupation barely within living memory, despite the porky presence of gaijin reeking of the dairy (to mix scentences), particularly in a place like the Dot of Doutonbori, it is surprising the predominance of Japanese language outside the most tempting of eating-places, drinking-places, on menus and in descriptions of what lies inside the mostly inward-facing joints, bars, holes in the wall, restaurants, rooms for public life. This is accommodation without concession.

…yes, speaking of culture, today we went to Hogsmeade, Harry Potter Land, Hogwarts—at Universal Studio! …

We expected crowds—there were; we expected tantrum-inducing waiting-times—there were; but we also expected—the Japanese panache at carrying fakery to next level; we expected the generosity in adopting the misshapen popular artifices of cultures other than that of Japan; despite the Americolonial years, we expected the joy at inventions—that the Japanese seem to have invented anyway, like theme-parks, living hoardings, robots-are-as-good-as-life, loud in your face snakeoil salesmanship … and we expected it all to be beautifully performed, dressed, choreographed scenically. After all, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey has won best ride in the world for @5 consecutive years. I think.

The trip came on on leaving our train at Universal City. Like the Tomoyuki Hoshino novel I’m reading, things got weird pretty quickly; and like with any trip left little time to wonder at psychological harm, ensuing identity disorders, or moral malaise (anyway, we’d been to an owl forest in stifling heat, in a suburb of Kyoto).

The check-in lady’s voice came at us with machine-gun machine-reproduced—for no conceivable reason, since she was just behind glass—ear-slicing consonantal bruitage. And we asked about express tickets. Would’ve added hundreds onto the bill, as well as kept us there until 1900 hours plus.

We braved the cheaper entry. Found Hogsmeade, Diagon Alley, the snow glistening, and J. asked how they keep it from melting … Magic.

Rode Harry Potter and the Forbidden & so on. Ate churros. Checked out the Butter Beer.

Rolled out of the Wizarding World into Muggles of Amity Village, and onto the schlocky Jaws ride. What was our open secret? Singles! Japanese prefer to ride in groups, friend groups, family groups … so we are told. Still, with the Potter ride, the ten mins turned into about an hour, but beat the two hour standard wait time—unless you have express and can arrive at the designated 1900 hours. We rode singly. That’s how we rolled.

Next, Jurassic Park’s The Ride, in water, with splashdown.

On to The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man – The Ride 4K3D. This was great—cartoon characters leaping into your field of vision, with 3D goggles, addressing each of you, each of me, individually, right up on your bonnet, and grill. When the electric baddy plugged his thing into the front of our car the Chinese lady two down screamed like she’d been personally electrocuted. Electrocution—it’s personal.

But the prize—apart from the overall artdirection of the Wizarding World—went to Evangelion XR 4D. This was a VR—full head-set (staff intensive, the team fitting me up, as I sat beside, as a single, an odaku guy, asked where I was from. New Zealand. Ah, sheep! Yes, I said, with fingers in beard, like me! Most disconcerting—when she’d fitted the headset and launched me into VR I heard You’re a sheep! You’re a sheep! A sheep!) hyper experience. Mosquitoe giant guys demolished the city and, cleverly, with a pilot and orientating details in field of vision, we hurtled through the apocalypse, bodies thrown one way, then another, because on an actual rollercoaster, while heads and sensory apparati were, through the headset, tuned into the virtual environments. And what works here is scale. This world was huge and in 360 degrees. … Mission accomplished, we slowed, me and the odaku guy, whom I’d neither heard nor seen a baby whisker of, into a massive hangar space, and outside the VR I heard clapping, the clapping the staff were routinely doing for new recruits, getting seated in their pods.

Tonight we found a skinny building to eat in, sat upstairs, two cynical electrosmokers doing their best to look cool.

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02.08.2018 NMoMAO, Nakazakicho & Namba eats

In the groove of the morning coffee—imported, from Brazil fl. 1995-2007, done in the dripfilter method, the mechanism bought not far from Resol, c. 2015—and usually soggy Danish. Yes, this morning’s was. That of Kyoto, however, was echt Franzoise. A leisurely preparation for the day, then subway to Osaka National Museum of Modern Art, or hereabouts. The heat immersive and swimmable.

Showing—a retrospective from the museum’s own collection and a collection from the Pushkin (including Déjeuner sur l’herbe). Items of note included—the light was unusual in the gallery, indirect, giving the impression of dim ambience; the exhibition followed a catachronology—Satashi Ohno’s polychrome style mashup: [look here: http://tomiokoyamagallery.com/artists/satoshi-ohno/] figurative, symbolic & prismatic quantum lifepainting. The Saito, I’d encountered looking at artists ‘breaking the frame’ in Japan and Brazil; Saito’s work recalls Tapiès’s. Of course: Sugimoto’s photos. And some interesting Western pieces: Warhol’s Marilyns (anyone who thinks of Warhol as overrated ought to spend time with his amazing colours, his colour curation); Cy Twombly; a little Picasso, Cubist period; and Max Ernst—which never reproduce (the same can funnily enough be said of the Warhol screenprints). Oh, and of course, favourite it seems with collections in Japan, Gerhard Richter.

Next door to the NmoMAO, the curved building houses the Museum of Science, and two little boys had bought a windup plane, the sort with rubberband, were trying to fly it. I helped them. It flew.

The Sky Bridge. Tickets to be bought on the 39th floor, via glass elevator. (The snaps I’ve taken are from the descent; I couldn’t look out on the upway.) It is intended that you exit your elevator box and take an escalator, which runs in a tube, on a diagonal up to the Sky Bridge Platform, some 140m in sky, through space, unsupported. I looked up tube, that runs through sky, space some 140m up in it, and wanted to get back downstairs.

An Ando wall of vegetation outside the Sky Bridge Towers, under which we lunched on cheapnesses—I, out of sorts, did not want the flavours of the basement foodhall, all done out like early 20th century Osaka: and so we got a smelly fish set from a streetvendor and a puffdog from a Family Mart, and pork on stick.

Nakazakicho is a place we walked to then—not far, it was far, and via a ridiculous layercake of consumerstores, and Osaka Station. We went there because it was called boho central in some online cultural guidething. It had nice small buildings and the collection usual for artistic quarters in cities of secondhand clothing stores and cafés with questionable opening hours; but there were many hair studios. I drank a white soda.

We went to Namba to eat, down the end of the Dot, which I have been misspelling—it is Doutonbori. And ate well.

On the stroll home, we went westward, to Ameriburi and walked around.

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01.08.2018 Kyomizudera to Dottonbori Osaka

Last night in Kyoto, after Ramen, on the recommendation of algorithm, we went to a bar. Atlantis, with a terrace on the river, more underwater than underworld, however, invoking the Gion, like its nursery school, with barmen in bowties, white shirt, black waistcoat, Japanese enthusiasm for service, impressed in Western mold, and without any reserve or selfconsciousness—our barman happily informed us, as we waited at the lower airconditioned bar for space on the terrace, in English, he was learning French, in the hope of working in Paris? I ask. Yes, I hear they have some culture, he answers. Some, yes, we agree. … as for bar culture, the glassware cheap, even for beer, and Suntory overpriced. J. ordered a mojito, after we’d asked what was in a Tom Collins. Our happy barman showed us a bottle of gin with a Tom label. … request referred to head barman, who consulted a plastic-leaved book of bar magic. Mojito came with muddled mint, a garden of it, in ice shards, the flavour of cordial, not a whiff of alcohol. Space available, we took our places at the bar on the terrace, a fit so tight we could not turn for the view. The young barman here palmed a ball of ice, like a baseball, while chipping it into a perfect sphere, then deposited it into a ‘whiskey’ tumbler—and called it a hai-ball. … a female trainee essayed the pour of a tap Suntory, spoon in hand, ready to remove the froth.

Atlantis—proud of an adopted culture, which being American, is Japanese-like in its friendliness, but without the reserve that might grace it, which is to be had at even at the pokiest local bar.

Kyomizudera temple above—extraordinary—even if a religious Disneyland full of Chinese. (See how the cross beams have tiled roofs on them to protect from rainwater settling. And the outside scaffolding is bamboo and cedar in the main, but obscures a lot of the Hodo; whereas in Byodoin, the interior of the Hodo was under renovation, here the exterior.) We made the ascent early, before the crush, and the descent.

Returning to Resol, we reclaimed our bags and took the local trains to Osaka. (Osaka snaps start at the one of the man with fans in the back of his jacket to keep him cool.)

Dottonbori is not far from our windowless ryokan room—albeit with fresh tatami, overwhelmingly fruity in the night. Thronged with people, the Dot, and floors of bars and restaurants, fronted with oversized hoardings—and literalisations of logos, like the Dragon who smashes in and out of the wall: the mercantile culture of Osaka invented this kind of display while Europe was precommercial, otherwise know as the Dark or Middle Ages. Before financialisation. (And as a result, Japan is welcome relief from the global economic ethos—at least at ground level, but one suspects at a political level too, there prevail values which are not simply prices.)

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31.07.2018 Byōdōin Uji to Kyoto Gion

Sayonara Hanayashini Ukibuneen … The cormorant fishing which happens every night did not over our stay and it was all right. The lady who had befriended J. on the return from Kurama Kibune insisted—to searching in her purse for a 10 yen coin—that we must, so we did, visit the Jodo style temple depicted on the coin: Byōdōin.

Jodo offers a vision of Pure Land Paradise. In my notes for Ayarashiyama “nothing for effect” (or should that be affect—since the intention is also absence of affectation?). I was there thinking of the ropes around the giant cedar trees. A thick gold rope, hung with prayer paper, might ring the bough beside a nylon rope meant for purely practical purposes. That is the gold rope has its purpose, its intended effect, as does the cheap nylon one. One is practical and one is … not for effect, not to give the aesthetic effect of a special marking out; the tree marks itself out, the rope is not a mark. The aesthetic value is not being signified. It is symbolic, the thick gold rope, with tasseled ends. But it does not symbolise aesthetically, or represent through a special aesthetic attention which cannot be mixed with more practical more mundane intentions. It is just a thick gold rope. So Jodo does not represent a paradisal scene, a heavenly vision imported brought down to earth, represented by the artists, the craftsmen, the gardeners, builders, painters, in a temple or in a floating island in a still and artificial lake. No special mark in addition to the precise and careful and attentive construction of the Jodo temple or island need be made. Nothing is for effect. And the plastic pipe feeding the lake is visible, doesn’t detract. There is no incongruity in mixing the practical with the visionary. The high aesthetic doesn’t suffer for having a low element. There is no difference in levels. Paradise is not artificial is Pound’s refrain throughout the Cantos. But the separation is not necessary: spiritual paradise need not be specially cordoned off from practical requirements and utility, even to those practical requirements and that utility of the artificial—to the visibility of the support, of the hose which keeps the flowers and moss happy.

We walked again the path beside the river and the workers were filling in the sides of the path, done centrally with large pavers. They were using cement and a brown and caramel gravel mixture, which was watered and then wiped back with a handsponge, to show off the colourful stones in the cement. The work was slow. And there were two security guards to a group of maybe half a dozen. It was like a community service crew. Yet they were so careful with the sponge work and the washing down, and the work was slow. That you might think this could not be a work scheme—where was the efficiency!? Where the productivity?! Why the care and artistry?!

Byōdōin temple floats above a lake. It is easily superhuman, for its symmetries, for its beauty. The fact of its reconstruction during the Meiji Restoration matters not—as it would, say to know Chartres was put back together during the mid-19th century. It is also superhuman for having spaces of which no human body could avail itself, could not float in at the second floor, or second floor and a half. Nobody could enjoy the balconies there, or be accommodated in the rooms that have no walls. It is perfectly useless, most of the temple, which makes it very moving.

Within the temple complex the Byōdōin Museum houses the “only existing group of Buddhist statues from the 11th century”, a collection of 52 bodhisattva floating on clouds, dancing, playing musical instruments, all of wood, each exquisitely carved and extraordinarily well preserved. The museum is by Akira Kuryu, I had to look, because it continues themes that are in the temple building itself, a weightless quality—like Ando’s concrete. A sign reads at the entrance: no sketching or photos.

There are also snaps of Koshoji, on the opposite side of the river, here above, before leaving for Resol Hotel in Kyoto, near the Gion. The Gion itself a strange contraction of Caesar’s palaces to the standard-sized allocations of land for building in Japanese cities, several metres across the front, rising in chrome and marble and glass, to 4 or so storeys. The vibe approaching something strangely unpleasant, awry, like a smell hanging over of emotional extortion. But we ate supremely well at a Ramen bar.

[for some reason the first of this day’s snaps have shuffled down and settled at the bottom]

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30.07.2018 Kibune – Kurama / Kurama – Kibune

Japanese breakfast, followed by walk to Reihan line; to Chushojima; to disembark and board further Reihan line—a privately owned line—destination Demachiyanaga; whereto board Eisen (yes) line to Kibune or Kurama; to walk either from Kibune—whereat the Hiribun water noodles, grabbed in chopsticks from a water-race—to Kurama—whereat the Onsen, and the temple; or from Kurama—hot bath first, plus or minus religious experience—to Kibune—noodles, grabbed from swiftly flowing water in bamboo gutter, for lunchv? … decisions decisions … in the event, arriving at Chushojima, we stood in a boarding queue, and a youngish man approached after some hesitation to express his recommendation. He had obviously been working on such for some time; we had been waiting for the train for some time: and there was an air of restlessness on the platform.

I recommend, he said, after saying, that there had been a bad accident and the train was no longer coming or was coming but not any time soon: I recommend that you take a taxi to Kyoto station, then go by bus to Demachiyanaga to meet the Eisen railway, the only line heading up to—up into the hills of Kyoto, westward?—Kurama, Kibune.

We descended under the platform to consider, and arose at the platform for the line which had brought us thither, the Uji one of Keihan line. We thought it might be better … when an official interrupted us with news: bad accident yes, you can take the Keihan line to Ryojiza, change there for the subway, to Odegawa, from Odegawa to the Demachiyanaga station is close, a ten minute walk… This news was interrupted by him saying Sorry I have to drive this train. We followed him onboard, watching his hands on the controls, as pictured above. He is wearing gloves.

Disembarking at Ryogiza to walk to the subway we, he leant out the driver’s window and handed us a piece of paper with directions, including the information that Demachinyanaga was “clouse” to Odegawa. How he had written the note while I had been photographing his gloved hands on the controls is a mystery. With profuse apologies he waved at us and drove the train away to Uji.

We followed the directions on the note and within two and half hours were bumping along on the mountain railway called Eisen, along with families, and a group of four young women in kimonos. Christal Whelan points out that it has once more become fashionable for young women to choose to express themselves, to distinguish themselves from the postwar generations preceding them, by wearing this traditional dress—on outings into traditional outing spots—and even to use the old and disused feminine forms of Japanese dispensed with in the Meiji language reforms of the 19th century.

As it was near lunchtime on our approach to the pair, Kibune, Kurama, we decided to lunch first on fast-flowing noodles and walk to Kurama, perhaps to bathe there. The Eisen train, the Eisenbahn, continued on from Kibune to Kurama. And it is worthwhile to state at this point that the purpose of this expedition had largely been the walk between the two points along the Eisen line.

Others left the station to wait at the busstop. We headed out, like the four young women in kimonos, on foot, sandals, shoes, and so on. As we walked uphill we came upon the river restaurants of which we guessed the Hiribun was one, with seating in the river itself, some allowing the dangling of tired feet in the soothing and cool mountain water. These eating places had lanterns under bamboo awnings and low tables on the river platforms, done out in red. We had passed several before I asked after the location of Hiribun. Not far, 400 metres further on. On we trudged. Hiribun? Further on, up, pointing… Here, it was Hiribun, with nothing to distinguish it from the many eating places on the river we had so far encountered.

We were directed to a side office, which looked like a small store annex to the restaurant proper. Water noodles? Yes. Have you a reservation? No. You will have to wait 3 hours. But it has taken us three hours to get here. Perhaps we can walk over to Kurama and back and by that time we can eat noodles from the fast-flowing stream, which were seeming anyway less and less appetising, grabbing with chopsticks… at slippery noodles of time…

Leaving Hiribun disappointed, we asked at the places we had passed: 6,500 yen set menu for eats on the river was the cheapest. The water-noodle option had been around 400 …

Back down: a curry family restaurant option? More expensive kaiseki?

We went past a place with a vegetarian à la carte meal which looked appealing, perhaps we could share, continued. Before we reached the point of no return, we did. Turned back uphill, and went into a citadel of peace and tranquility in the utmost.

It is worthwhile at this point to say that the road uphill as down was clogged with temple pilgrims, superannuated hikers, tourists, and mainly internal tourists, and cars, cars too wide for the roads, cars too shiny and new for the hills, cars going up meeting vans and cars coming down, cars and vans having to fold in their side mirrors to pass one another, vans and cars reluctant to pass one another, cars and vans stuck until one or another should ease its way forward, winkle its way out of the jam, and buses, tour buses stuck between cars and vans and trucks, buses too big for the hilly mountain roads, buses unwilling to keep on going with the pedestrians on the road, pedestrians going up and pedestrians going downhill, walkers and hikers hungry for water-borne noodles, and hikers and walkers without bookings heading back down disappointed. Or coming to the shrines and temples with degrees of religious excitement… There was a mêlée outside.

And inside—peace. And food set at a reasonable price, being around 1,000 yen for one. We ate soba noodles and two fish (nami) and rice and two fish (nami) cooked by pouring over tea from a copper teapot.

We left Kibune for Kurama. Both cypress and cedars in the woods, and black bears, snakes and deer; we smelt musk a couple of times, but saw no beast. Kurama-dera, the temple complex is called; from Kibune up up up … then descent after, as it were, spiritual exercise. The waters purified, the innocence was refound, hope and belief in the world was reborn: it would be nice to be a bear, J. said. To come back as one? No. It would be a nice life.

We did not stop to bathe. By the time we reached Keihan line accident cleared, it seemed, and we saved 2 hours.

At night it was back to sushi train. [The night before we dined with the Japanese cast from Cheers: the jocose ones, with little English, discussing whether onsen was hotpool or spa, for ever, discussing and laughing over the dance the New Zealanders do before playing sports, trading profound insights over different aspects of our presence in their midst—then charging us a lot for having brought us less than we had ordered of teppanyaki; but very friendly with it, let it be said and known. Very warm. Only a little dear.]

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29.07.2018 Arashiyama

The typhoon passed. Through the night, like the Buddhist monks at the head of Robert Matta-Clark’s bed, at the moment he passed away, shouting into his ears, because hearing, of all the senses, is the last to leave us, ROBERT! ROBERT! YOU’RE DEAD! YOU’RE DEAD, ROBERT! … like them, was heard, through the night, a loudspeaker announcing the present calamity. Although we could not understand a word of what was actually being said. A theme-tune played. Every station has a theme tune, or refrain—ritornello—so why not a typhoon? (It had after all a name, which I do not recall.) THE TYPHOON! THE TYPHOON IS HERE! IT’S A TYPHOON! Is what we imagined.

Japanese breakfast: I write this after our final Japanese breakfast at Hanayashiki Ukinuneen, drinking coffee, overhearing the roar of water from the dam, interrupting itself as it does, with expostulations of even greater fervour, then relenting, overlooking the Ujugawa; I write this having had our last here and drinking coffee we brought, dirty black coffee brought to the land of clean green matcha tea, its homeplace, having indeed thought as I surveyed this morning’s Japanese breakfast that I would not want to continue day after day eating, morning upon morning, with a fish, pickle, seaweed, pickle, omelette, pickle, miso, seaweed, burdock, rice, starch dumpling, marrow, pickle, soya sauce, silky tofu, golden needle mushrooms, if that’s what they’re called, spinach leaves, tea… It’s not the unrelenting proteiny-ness of it all. Not the liquid quantities to wash it down with—it’s instead an overload of care paid to it, having to take first from this bowl, then from that, having to connect flavour and taste groups transversally, diagonally, umi to sour, to sweet to bitter, to savoury to sour again, or earlier, having to attend to the artful disposition of vessels and viands. It’s not the time it takes. It’s the strain on the senses of so much peace and … I am forgetting the ma—the void it is work to make. Ma does not break into the lavish laying-out of the Japanese breakfast so much as—does it? I’m not sure—relate across space, in a rule or as a condition of its distribution, its spread, its extension over bowls of lacquer, black, ceramic, imperfect, pale and striped, metal, to be heated by a burner below, lit by the serving staff, young man or woman, he in pants, she in simple kimono. Square vessels, oval lowdishes, lidded bowls, lidded with lacquered plastic or wood, lidded with a wooden bucket lid, like granny’s chook bucket—the metal cooking pot, on its support, above its flame.

We went to Arashiyama and saw gardens–Ōkōchi Sansō garden, “the former home and garden of the Japanese jidaigeki (period film) actor Denjirō Ōkōchi in Arashiyama” (the best and most beautiful) and Tenryū-ji Temple garden (when the rain came down, and we realised, looking at all the people taking refuge on the verandah we’d been excluded from the temple once more—a garden dating back to the 15th century, a temple rebuilt in the Meiji period, due to fires, fires, fires, 8 times rebuilt, perhaps the fire has a theme-tune and an announcer shouting, perhaps a monk, with a loud voice, proclaiming FIRE! THIS IS A FIRE! … IT’S A FIRE! YOU’RE ON FIRE!)—and saw monkeys, or more correctly macaques, and went in to an owl forest, next to a bengal cat café, where there were really owls. Real owls. We were given a little squirt of handsanitiser and shown to stroke the owls with backs of hand only, and not fronts of owls, or fronts of hands, as owls bite. About twenty owls, including snowy owls, which I did not snap—they were a little pathetic, under the weather, in the heat and humidity at @30C+, in their cage, two of them: at least in company. And some of the owls not to pat: ones with sign saying “just a beginner” and “taking a break”. That points to their having a kind of apprenticeship, a training period, inuring themselves to the light, sometimes, pressure of backs of hands on backs of owls. But still the feet tether is not light. But still, they are released—but where? The monkeys have a forest park, with deer also, and black bears, and, no doubt, racoons—at night: they are nocturnal animals. This is why they are so sleepy and docile to be patted.

I made a strong connection with a sad-eyed owl called Tie. And his picture ends the series of snaps of owls, because I turned back to say Ciao, Tie. YOU’RE AN OWL!

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hommangerie
infemmarie
on tour

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28.07.2018 to Uji, Japan

Overlooking the Ujigawa, the river in Uji, split by an artificial island, and fed from the nearby dam, with rapids below the island and above, we are finally in our room, and not only that but fresh out of the hotpools, the public baths as they have to be called—since to qualify as onsen the waters must arise naturally from the ground and possess minerals, a mineral quality; so that some onsen are coloured and some so hot when they bubble into the baths or pools there are attendants present to make sure bathers do not broil and cook.

From Waiheke to Uji:35 minutes by ferry; 25 minutes by Über; a checkin time two hours ahead of boarding time, which allows for seats together to be confirmed; 11.15 hours’ flight—with a supper, followed by 71 minutes of Dog Island; 5 hours sleep, on a partially full 777, since it had been cancelled because of the typhoon rolling in on Tokyo, was subsequently reinstated—adding to the likelihood of sleep being had, since more space to stretch out—however I could not get my body to fit the available empty space, the ma was all wrong, no matter how I curled and contorted to fill it—then breakfast, a gesture at Japanese style, with the rice handily deposited in a pleated cupcake paper; monorail from Haneda to Shinagawa 15 minutes; some circulation of bodies searching for the right line, the JR Nara line, to Uji—say 10 minutes—then, departing at 29 minutes past the hour, the local train, stopping at all the stations on the way, to Uji, 25 minutes later; walking, asking for directions, along the Ujigawa to our ryokan 20 minutes.

Time, Deleuze writes in his book on Kant, is not determined by movement, or change, and time itself does not move and change. Neither is time eternal. “It is the form of everything that changes and moves, but it is an immutable Form which does not change”—the unchanging, unmoving Form of what is impermanent, an impermanence that in the form of time is not eternal. In it, all things are impermanent. All things pass. That time passes without passing away is, Deleuze writes, a profound mystery.

(&&&[Deleuze])=-1...
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detraque
luz es tiempo
on tour

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the story of the mirror neurons, pt. 1

Positivity, affirmation: they are related but not the same. To confront one with the other is not to vanquish it; they take different objects and produce different subjects. Positivity and negativity: you can affirm either; you can affirm both. You can affirm in positivity the need for negativity. Positivity is the condition of affirming only one. One side, one polarity, one out of the pair is affirmed and one is left out in affirming positivity; and in affirming negativity, equally, one side, one polarity, one out of the pair is affirmed, one left out. But when you affirm both what happens is still not an inclusion: the affirmation of both positivity and negativity can go to a higher form of positivity; but it cannot go to a higher form of negativity. It cannot go to a higher form of negativity unless you have or invoke a higher power of negation; or unless you have or invoke in negation a higher power. To have there be in negation a higher power, or to have negation be a higher power, is to make of that power your affirmation, to affirm it to be or to affirm in it that power. The condition for negativity to go to a higher form in the affirmation of a power in negation higher than the form of positivity that is unequally reposed in it where you affirm both positivity and negativity is that of its being, being in the world, and in the world acting. The condition of the existence of negativity in its higher power of negation may be called existential. Positivity would annul this existential condition of negativity, this form of being and this power of acting in the world, in its negation: it is not. Affirmation differs from positivity in reposing in negativity an existential condition that is its own and belongs to it; positivity deposes in negativity an existential condition of which it is dispossessed. According to positivity not only should negativity not be, should it not be in the world, and not only should negation not act in the world, and, according to positivity, where its moral injunction takes full effect, not only should negativity not find a higher power in negation, but negativity can not: it cannot be, it cannot be so and cannot be that negation so act. Affirmation differs from positivity neither insofar as it relates positivity exclusively to negativity, nor insofar as it includes equally both negativity and positivity, but insofar as it aligns itself with the existential condition of both and either positivity and negativity. The distinction is not lost; the difference you see and describe that is and acts in the world itself takes the higher power in the relation, the nondialectical relation, of the positive and the negative—a positive, a negative.

Affirmation vanquishes the dialectic in a differential relation of a positive and a negative. But the problem remains that to confront positivity with negativity is not to vanquish it. Negativity inverts positivity; and positivity obverts negativity. It may be the case that the project of positivity parallels the inject of negativity. If this is so, and the difference is upheld, the subject of negation is induced in a movement that is reflexive and intensive; the subject of position is produced in a movement that is object-directed and extensive. This reflexivity that is subjective in negativity, in positivity takes its object to be itself: that is whereas negativity subjects, induces or forms a subject reflexively, positivity objects and the subject is taken up to be the project of a performance. The position of the performing subject, of positivity’s performative project, is facing you, the position of an appeal, from, as it were, a dark and reflexive negativity; it is an appeal against an immutable background darkness that is everywhere around it.

(&&&[Deleuze])=-1...
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Ἀκαδήμεια
CAPITAL CAPITAL CAPITAL
point to point
thigein & conatus

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XXX

XXX.

Do not speak this blessing

itwillenslaveyou

we did not know he penetrated her apart from her expression

blank possibly drugged mystical

and should peace peace is a sheet

a cool white sheet a clean and ironed one

expressionless

soothing easy eyes

good tears dripping in excess is it from their folds

secreting oracles

 

a dribble is a gathering together of images in a droplet

it strings secreting strings threads pearls in its secretion

as involuntary as a symptom

notatallunwilling

the will which hidden will seep out

in the night

in the night emissions

of satellites

 

and should peace peace be upon them

which is a sheet and flicks at their genitals

with the folded rectitude of paper

wet from the pen dripping ink

and albumen every edge it over

tang of egg or orange is it

inkwet in the sicklehairs

 

say it with sex say say it with art of lying

forgive the intrusion the cage was empty

and in my hand a group of opioids

a birdwing flaps drug it and in my hand

on my hand featherlight another

heart beat another open void

it overflows and in my prescription

does it in my script these lines

 

arenotcrossedout

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imarginaleiro
luz es tiempo
point to point
thigein & conatus
X

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